The Flo app, which is used by more than 230 million women worldwide, revealed on Twitter that it would launch a brand new “anonymous mode” soon. The announcement was made just days after an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled to reverse the famous Roe V. Wade judgement.
According to Flo the company, the new anonymity mode will help to ensure that users’ personal information is protected in any circumstance.
Flo app was launched at the end of 2015 in 2015 by Flo Health, Inc. Women across the United States extensively use it to track their menstrual and ovulation cycles.
A decision by the US Supreme Court in the case of Roe v. Wade in 1973 was regarded as the basis of the right to abortion within the United States. The court ruled that the constitutional rights in the United States generally protect a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.
Yesterday, in a historic decision, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn the Roe V. Wade judgement. It meant that abortion was not a constitutional right within the United States.
After the decision was made, panic set in, and people began to ask to request the removal of period tracking applications in worry about data and surveillance privacy.
Privacy advocates and several legal experts have suggested that investigators utilize the data collected from period tracking apps like Flo and others in future cases regarding abortion. These data can be used to prosecute defendants in court .
There are also concerns in the general population that the latest decision by the supreme court could cause states to adopt new laws. There are a lot of chances the anti-abortion laws could include clauses that make it compulsory for firms that track periods to provide personal information to law enforcement agencies for investigations.
All these fears and assumptions are causing more requests to delete personal information from such services and apps and for the deinstallation of period tracking applications.
As of yet, there hasn’t been any confirmation nor any details of Flo Health, Inc regarding how the anonymous mode function or the extent the information are secure.
PRIVACY ISSUES WITH FLO APP
Flo was previously accused of not being able to ensure the privacy of users of the app.
In 2019, The Wall Street Journal released a story stating that the Flo app was sharing sensitive information about users, such as data regarding menstrual cycles, to third-party companies. The third party included Facebook, Google etc.
This data exchange among Flo App and tech companies did not require authorization or consent from the user.
Although the company could not admit to any mistakes, Flo App reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2021 concerning data privacy.